Big Bullets FC new chairperson Sam Chilunga at the weekend got the feel of what to expect as he leads the People’s Team. A fan revealed insights of gate fraud which he claimed is orchestrated by some supporters assigned by the club to man the gates at Kamuzu Stadium.
During a press conference organised to unveil Chilunga and other co-opted executive committee members, Geoff Biya, a Blantyre-based fan, narrated how he witnessed gate fraud at the stadium where a gate supervisor enticed fans to enter at a discount fee.
Biya cited the recent TNM Super League game between Bullets and Mafco, where a gate supervisor, clad in a Bullets scarf, assembled a group of 10 fans to pay K300 each instead of K500, and facilitated their entry at the ‘Biafra’ Stand.
“My assumption was that this man was assigned by Bullets to man the gates, but when he got there, he instructed a police officer to let them in, saying ‘amenewo ndi anga alipo 10, asiyeni alowe’ [ let these people in, they are 10 in total].
“Mr. Chairperson, the incident really pained me because he was someone the club trusted. I am not a journalist, but when I heard that there was this press conference, I thought it wise to bring this issue to the public attention and alert you on what to expect as you are setting up the transformation drive,” said Biya.
He said the incident was an eye-opener to him (Chilunga) about the problem that dogs gate management.
“After that experience, I learnt that these people meet at a place called ‘Chez’ which is behind the stadium’s main gate where they plan their clandestine activities. They even follow fans as they disembark from minibuses,” he said.
In response, Chilunga thanked Biya for the tipoff and gave an assurance that even gate management would be restructured.
“We know that it is a complicated syndicate and it cannot just be stopped overnight, but we will try to put in place mechanisms that can seal such loopholes.
“For a team that has no sponsor, our main source of revenue is obviously gate collections and we have to introduce tight controls,” said Chilunga.
However, while appreciating Biya’s tip, Bullets main supporters committee secretary Mabvuto Chibambo wondered why he did not take up the matter with the authorities to which Biya replied: “I was not too sure because sometimes you end up telling the wrong people thereby putting your life at risk, but all the same I feel there can be no better forum than this one.”
About a month ago, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) admitted that the drive to improve clubs’ gate revenue will be a tall order after unearthing loopholes in stadia security and rampant fraud during investigation.
The body’s treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda then told The Nation that these were preliminary findings to establish the root cause of low gate revenue despite big crowds that patronise most games.